'law and order'
September 3, 2020

President Trump twice on Wednesday urged supporters in North Carolina to vote two times in the presidential election, once by mail and then again in person, ostensibly to test his unsubstantiated claims that mail-in voting will be rife with fraud. "Intentionally voting twice is illegal, and in many states, including North Carolina, it is a felony," The Washington Post notes. Attorney General William Barr either does not know that or he was just being coy in an interview Wednesday evening with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Blitzer read Barr what Trump had said, and Barr suggested Trump was just "trying to make the point that the ability to monitor this system is not good." Blitzer pointed out that if anyone followed Trump's advice, they would be breaking the law, and Barr responded, "I don't know what the law in the particular state says." He added he's not sure if it is illegal to vote twice in any state, then claimed that widespread mail-in voting "is very open to fraud and coercion, is reckless and dangerous, and people are playing with fire."

"Multiple studies have debunked the notion of pervasive voter fraud in general and in the vote-by-mail process," The Associated Press reports. The Post noted that its own analysis of mail-in voting in three states where it is the primary means of casting ballots found 372 possible cases of double voting or other fraud out of 14.6 million ballots mailed in for the 2016 and 2018 elections, a potential fraud rate of 0.0025 percent.

If you try out Trump's idea in real life, you will either be blocked from voting in person or your mail-in ballot will be "spoiled," Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the North Carolina State Board of Elections, told The New York Times. He suggested that if you are worried about your mail-in ballot, rather than commit felony vote fraud, track its progress on the board's website. Peter Weber

July 17, 2020

President Trump has sent an unknown number of federal agents to Portland, Oregon, ostensibly to project federal property amid weeks of protests against racism and police brutality. But federal officers "are also detaining people on Portland streets who aren't near federal property, nor is it clear that all of the people being arrested have engaged in criminal activity," OPB reported Thursday evening. One civil rights lawyer, Juan Chavez, described the federal tactics as "like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay" and "more like abduction" than lawful arrest.

"Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14," OPB reports. "Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off."

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf visited Portland on Thursday and slammed the mayor and governor, claiming "Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city." He released a list of the "lawless destruction and violence" from these "violent anarchists," and most of it was graffiti. Trump praised the federal incursion Monday, saying "Portland was totally out of control" and federal agents "very much quelled it." Federal agents shot one 26-year-old man in the head with "less lethal" munitions last Saturday, fracturing his skull.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Gov. Kate Brown (D), and Oregon's congressional delegation were pretty clear the feds are not welcome. Wheeler said Tuesday that the federal officers had brought only violence and "life-threatening tactics" to Portland streets, and "we do not need or want their help." Brown said Thursday said she told Wolf he should remove "all federal officers from our streets" and criticized Trump's "political theater" and "blatant abuse of power" in Portland. Sen. Ron Wyden (D) echoed that critique:

You can read more about the Portland situation, including details of one murky arrest of a pedestrian by federal agents in a rented minivan, at OPB. Peter Weber

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